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Yassou from Greece: Introducing HuffPost Greece

Arianna HuffingtonEveryone in the Little Angel family of friends knows that we are all about being Greek and we enjoy the conversation in our blog devoted to Greece! And, being Greek goes beyond your heritage because everyone can be Greek just by deciding to do so. So, we are proud to announce to our family of Greeks the introduction of a new blog devoted to Greece. What makes this so special to us is that it comes from one our favorite bloggers and a fellow Greek — Arianna Huffington.

Below is an excerpt from her press release announcing HuffPost Greece. We wish her all the best and we promise to bring you select content from this great blog devoted to news about Greece as it grows and progresses.

ATHENS — As The Huffington Post has expanded around the world, I have used this space to introduce each of our new international editions. But none of the announcements I’ve made has had as much significance for me personally as what I have to share today: the launch of The Huffington Post in my native Greece. If I veer into some emotional territory (and spoiler alert: I will — it’s in my genes), it’s because even now, surrounded by our wonderful team of editors in our office with a stunning view of the Parthenon, I’m overwhelmed by gratitude.

For me, this is the ultimate homecoming, not only because this is where I and my accent were born but because HuffPost is very firmly rooted in a Greek tradition of bringing people together and facilitating interesting conversations. When we began our international expansion more than three years ago, I knew that one day HuffPost’s own odyssey (to borrow from one of my compatriots) would lead us to Greece. And I couldn’t be happier that that day has finally come.

Launching HuffPost Greece is, in many ways, about coming full circle. My father was a serial journalism entrepreneur who launched a succession of small newspaper ventures — all of which failed. (It’s no accident HuffPost is not in print!)

After my parents broke up when I was 11, I lived with my mother and my sister Agapi in a one-bedroom apartment in Athens. My mother was amazingly committed to making sure my sister and I had the best childhood possible. She would preside over long sessions in our small kitchen, guiding us through our daily problems by discussing Greek philosophy. And, of course, she was always cooking, clearly believing that if you didn’t eat something every 20 minutes, something terrible would happen to you.

This was a time when Greek women still needed dowries to get married. So my mother would always say to me, “Your education will be your dowry.” And to make that happen, she sold everything she had, including her last pair of gold earrings. That started me on a journey: college at Cambridge, a career as an author, marriage, motherhood, divorce, launching HuffPost. But Greece is where my story began.

Now HuffPost Greece will be telling the stories that matter most in Greece and, just as important, helping Greeks tell their stories themselves. The Huffington Post is both a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalism enterprise with investigative reporters all around the world and a platform where people both known and unknown with something interesting to say can say it. And I’m so grateful to be able to bring The Huffington Post to Greece at this very challenging moment in the country’s history.

As HuffPost has grown, I have returned over and over in my mind to the traditions and wisdom of my home country. For my Greek ancestors, philosophy was anything but an academic exercise. Asking the question “What is a good life?” was a daily practice in the art of living. This question had to lie at the root of HuffPost’s mission to redefine success beyond the first two metrics of money and power to include a third metric, consisting of well-being, wisdom, wonder and giving.

Still, like in many other countries, in Greece today the good life, by any definition, is up against steep challenges. Unemployment was at 26 percent in July, with youth unemployment at a staggering 49 percent. Austerity measures have crippled Greece’s economy, while suicide, drug use and overdoses have risen dramatically. The vicious cycle of budget cuts has reduced Greece’s ability to help its own most vulnerable citizens, even as their number has multiplied.

But Greece is moving forward. I’ve witnessed that Greek resilience firsthand many times in my life. In the summer of 2011, I spent many nights in Syntagma Square, directly across from the Greek parliament. The protesting crowd was mixed, full of young people and old, the self-employed, the unemployed, activists and pensioners, demanding the opportunity to live out their own versions of a good life.

That desire is stronger than ever, and the central mission of HuffPost Greece will be to open up the conversation about the ways we can tap into the inner resources we all have. Large-scale institutional changes are of course incredibly important, and we’ll be covering those too, but we don’t have to wait for them before we initiate change in our own lives right now.

To the Stoics, the most secure kind of happiness could therefore be found in the only thing that we are in sole control of: our inner world. Everything outside us can be taken away, as too many in Greece know full well, so how can we entrust our future happiness and well-being to it? Once we realize that, we can bring about a sense of imperturbability (or ataraxia, as the Greeks called it), and from that place, we can much more effectively and powerfully bring about change in our lives and the world around us.

At the same time that we will be covering relentlessly all the economic problems that Greece is facing, we will also, just as relentlessly, put the spotlight on its new entrepreneurial fervor for creating jobs, spurring growth and forging new connections. HuffPost Greece will also be a place to explore the intersection between modern science and the ancient Greek wisdom about living life with greater health and fulfillment and less stress and burnout. And while HuffPost Greece will be reporting relentlessly on the impact of austerity and all that is dysfunctional and not working, we’ll also be telling the stories of what is working.

Growing up, my favorite poem was “Ithaka” by the Greek poet Constantine Cavafy. Agapi and I had memorized the poem long before we could actually understand what it means. It opens, “As you set out for Ithaka hope the voyage is a long one, full of adventure, full of discovery.” And so it has been. I’m so grateful to the many, many people, both now and through the years, who have helped bring us to this moment and the launch of HuffPost Greece. If I had a plate, I’d smash it. Please join me in welcoming Greece to the HuffPost family. Opa!

And, please join Little Angel Greek Extra Virgin Olive Oil’s blog devoted to Greece in welcoming HuffPost Greece to our family of friends!

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